Warning over common toilet habit that can cause pain in and around your bum

Whether you pass the time scrolling on social media or playing games, many Brits don’t think twice about bringing their phone to the loo with them.

While the toilet habit may seem harmless, doctors have warned that the mindless act could actually be damaging your behind. Gastroenterologist Dr Saurabh Sethi has taken to social media to highlight the “serious consequences”, in the video he said: “Using your phone while doing number two can lead to prolonged sitting on the toilet which can cause strain and pressure on your rectum and anus."

Speaking to his 273,000 TikTok followers, he added: “This can lead to issues such as haemorrhoids, anal fissures and even rectal prolapse.” According to NHS Inform, haemorrhoids – also known as piles – are swellings containing enlarged blood vessels that are found inside or around the bottom. Research suggests up to 36 percent of Brits experience haemorrhoids, which can be symptomless but can also cause discomfort when going to the toilet.

Meanwhile, an anal fissure describes a tear or ulcer that develops in the lining of the large intestine, near the anus. This can cause a sharp pain when a person is trying to poo, that could last several hours, as well as bleeding, explains the NHS.

A rectal prolapse occurs when the “last few inches of the bowel become stretched and stick out from the bottom,” the health body explains. Those who have experienced vaginal childbirth, long-term constipation, heavy lifting, or weak pelvic floor muscles face an increased risk of the condition.

What’s more, using your phone on the toilet is a “breeding ground” for bacteria, warns Dr Sethi. He said: “Studies have found that an average smartphone is dirtier than a public toilet seat. Try avoiding scrolling while using the toilet but if you can’t help it at least have a disinfectant wipe around to clean the phone after you're done with the business.”

Research conducted by Initial Washroom Hygiene in 2018 found that the average smartphone is nearly seven times dirtier than a loo seat.

Common symptoms of haemorrhoids

NHS Inform has detailed the most common symptom of piles, these include:

  • Bleeding after passing a stool (the blood is usually bright red)

  • Itchy bottom

  • A lump hanging down outside of the anus, which may need to be pushed back in after passing a stool

  • A mucus discharge after passing a stool

  • Soreness, redness and swelling around your anus.

If you have any gut health-related questions, reach out to Dr Sethi on Instagram HERE.

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